CLIENT: CONCRETE CONTRACTOR
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 6
ANNUAL SALES: $2+ MILLION
LOCATION: ATLANTA, GEORGIA
The Client is a residential concrete contractor performing over $2 million annually replacing residential driveways and performing minor masonry work in the Metro-Atlanta area. The owner has over 20 years in the concrete business, including owning and operating his own firm since 2001.
The Client’s business has expanded in recent years, but its original processes and procedures were outdated, making it almost impossible to properly manage their current workload and accurately calculate profitability. The office was chaotic with no clear-cut lines of responsibility. Ascent was asked to:
- Develop specific roles and responsibilities for management, office staff and field personnel
- Establish processes and procedures for getting work done
- Conduct a financial analysis to improve the bottom line
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
A failure to define roles and responsibilities was a key contributor to the chaos enveloping the Client’s company. The Owner’s phone was ringing nonstop with calls from customers, vendors, suppliers and delivery people. He was trying to project manage and coordinate all his work, while his associate was doing the same with his own projects. With no system in place, overlap was significant and items were falling through the cracks.
- Ascent stepped in and established a Process Workflow System for all project areas including Sales Calls, Job Scheduling, Materials Ordering, Customer Payments and more. One person/role was assigned responsibility for each area and task to avoid confusion and increase efficiency.
- Ascent identified six key individuals in its Workflow System – customer, project coordinator, owner, field worker, bookkeeper and vendor. All tasks were listed with each person’s role specified.
For example, Customer Payments, which is a crucial process, was not being managed well. This became a serious issue, especially for partial payments on large jobs. Tight parameters were clarified and simplified so that this task could be performed consistently and accurately every time, ensuring nothing would be missed.
Rain Delay: The Concrete Nightmare: Concrete delivery scheduling is a big issue for driveway contractors, especially when it rains and work must be postponed. This can be a nightmare when a driveway is due to be torn up and replaced in a single day. Defining responsibilities is absolutely essential if rescheduling is to go smoothly and customers kept up to date. A Rain Delay protocol is now in place at the company.
PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES
A natural offshoot of defining Roles and Responsibilities at the company was streamlining company processes. This reduced stress on The Owner and his associate, enabling them to remain focused on core activities.
Supplemental systems and workflows that Ascent helped design included Payroll, Purchasing, Billing, Cost Reporting, Scheduling and Change Orders. Standardizing and simplifying these processes was instrumental in increasing accuracy in cost reporting while improving project performance and customer satisfaction.
Putting Out Fires: The Owner’s hours were being eaten up with non-core activities. His phone started ringing at 5 in the morning and continued until 9 at night. His phone number was readily available to everyone, which gave him little time to relax and guide his company. He was stressed and not sleeping well. Today, new procedures are in place, significantly easing the load on him.
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IMPROVING THE BOTTOM LINE
When the Client first called Ascent, financials were a major problem area. The work was coming in, but there were no systems in place to know how much money the company was actually making and which jobs were profitable.
The Ascent team dug deep, completing an exhaustive review of all key financials by cost codes from the previous year. The result was a 9.29% reduction in operating costs, which saved The Company more than $100,000 over the previous year – all without any drastic cuts or changes to the company!